Short post on why high tech implants cost so much — from a technical perspective

Xyz Zyx
3 min readSep 29, 2023

Look, I’m a programmer, I know nothing of other domains like materials, manufacturing, post-implantation care and so on, but I’ve worked on a “latest & greatest” app that connected to an implant for monitoring the implant.
I’ll tell you know why this part costs so much and this is undoubtedly added to the total cost of the implant.

I will do it with WRONG!s.I call these blunders “WRONG!” moments, where common sense takes a nap, and the price tag skyrockets.

Let’s dive into a typical “high-tech” implant — mind you, the one in the picture is just to tickle your fancy.

So you got the ‘researchers’, usually at some big name university that discover that if you do this to the spinal cord you don’t have back pains.

They go ahead and make a company with the intent to be sold to some big pharma and while they wait to get acquired (or even after) they have to produce some prototype. They go ask for “money” from some Big Pharma to make a “prototype”.

They realize that they can’t code the “controller” device and mobile app since they don’t have expertise in mobile apps. You might think that they will go ahead and hire some competent people to do the work?


Hiring people is complicated, why not use some contractors. So you get find a contracting company that has some history of some FDA approved software device for medical use, to do the software part.

You might think that the company will start working on it?


The company itself saves as much cost as possible and only keeps a minimal number of employees just for having “face” (I don’t know how you call it in US) meaning just to be barely called a company.

So they go to India/Pakistan for development in order to save cost

You might think that the Indians/Pakistanis will start working on it?


Indians and Pakistanis people are pretty bad at software development (yes, some are good but most of them are bad) so what they do is that they work hourly at a very low rate, but they drag the work as much as possible so they get more money from the client.

After about 6 months for “development” the contracted company gives up working with them and looks for other developers.

Now, you’d reckon they’d hire some local talent, but no siree?


They don’t want to spend money on some local developers, so they look at some more quality developers, say… Eastern Europe

And this is when I start working on it.

In couple of months the project is ready and the application is ready to be published on the ios/android marketplace in the “beta” group testing.

The beta group is like a closed group that will test the app and allows me to fix whatever issues might appear.

You might think that finally the app will be published?


By some unknown reason, the contracted company cannot publish the app so another company that only handles the releases of such apps enters the picture. The hole process of publishing the app becomes nightmare with 100 managers/CTOs/team leads/product owners in between for each update.

You’d think they’d finally publish the app after this fiasco? (2nd time)?


The Big Pharma company decides it’s too dicey to go ahead, so they pull the plug.

Since maybe 1 out of 5 (?) high tech implants go past the trial phase the cost to “finish” one is high. The “big pharma” wants to recuperate costs from previous failed attempts so it will sell the successful implants knowing that to have one is such a troublesome process.

So you have 6 good reasons why your high tech implant costs so much from a technical point of view.

Have a nice day and may you never need an implant!